January 22, 2005
Not even two days since I’ve written last and it seems like a week+ has gone bye. Our days have been jammed packed. Full of info sessions about Health and Safety, about Language and Cross Culture, Policy and Procedures, AND full of food, which is where I will begin…

Diet- Every meal is served with nan bread. It is a round bread, that is put in the center of the table. The first person to break the bread, breaks the entire loaf into individual pieces for everyone. This Bread is very sacred to the Uzbek people. It is never thrown away in the trash, it is never turned upside down and it is used in all traditional meals, celebrations, and associated with many do’s and taboos in their culture. Plov is the last corse of the meal. It is a rice, maybe with carrot, raisins and some sort of meat on the top. It is usually served in one large bowl in the center of the table or table cloth (some families do not eat at a table, rather eat on a special rug with a tablecloth laid out to place the meal on with people sitting cross legged around the cloth.). Some eat with their hands, some eat with a spoon out of this community bowl. And some more modern families have individual bowls, more western style, like us. Now, Uzbek families eat ALOT of food. They give their guest the largest or only piece of meat. And constantly are saying “Oling!” “Oling!” (Eat! Eat!). And they can be very offended if you do not eat! eat! (This worries me a bit. We will be going to our host families in one week and so far in the canteen here at the sanitarium we are staying at I have not eaten a lick of the meat. I go through this big wrenching guilt and pressure to eat as they do but then again I don’t want to get ill. This, so far is my biggest problem. I will let you all know what kind of family, understanding or not so much, traditional or modern, after I meet them next Wednesday.) Every meal is ended with fresh fruit and tea is drank at every meal (no water, no juice or soda folks! Only Americans drink water all the time, it is very strange here.). The meal is ended by the eldest saying “omen,” with a hands wiping over face, from forehead to sides of cheeks then over the mouth gesture. Then throughout the day, fruit is always left on the table, maybe bread too, Im not sure, really, all remains to be seen.

Thats all I have time for today, Tomorrow we will be going into Tashkent (pro. “Tosh-kent”) to see the PC headquarters, the Local Bazar, a museum and hopefully exchange some money and post this blog!

(Oh, and PST stands for PC Training!)

Things to come…
Where the heck we are staying, description of the Sanitarium.
More on local customs and language, fascinating.
Ins and outs on what I’m doing daily.

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